A cave with no walls or roof. Only a thin layer of water. It covers the top of the Dreamer’s smallest toe, no more. Each step fails to echo, impossible in this space.
“Hi.” The figure says. He’s been there the whole time, but the Dreamer hadn’t noticed.
“Oh, ah,” the Dreamer realizes he’s intruding. He wasn’t invited, but here he is anyways. “Is this—I’m sorry, I didn’t know you were here.”
A butterfly made of light leaves a trail of diamond dust in its fluttering wake. In each twinkling fragment a universe is made. A trillion lives. Born, lived, lost. Every hope, wish, and—yes—dream. Every tangible object a universe holds and all its intangible ideas and concepts. Everything abstract and actual.
The dust twinkles, catches light, then fades. An ember thrown from flames, rising in the chill night air to exist only for a moment.
“Why aren’t you getting up?” the hooded figure asks. “Your alarm went off a few minutes ago.” The Dreamer follows the flight of another butterfly, caught in a trance. “Are you avoiding my question?”
“Just another minute.”
“But you’re not doing anything. This much sleep—it doesn’t help.”
“Don’t I need rest?” The question sounds stupid and he knows what the response will be even before he hears it.
Right, sure, like anything. The Dreamer tries to meet the figure’s gaze, but his eyes are hard to look at. Two brilliant gems of pure insight. Just one of them has seen more than the Dreamer’s two would in a thousand lifetimes. A butterfly passes by the figure’s face trailing glittering wonder. A few sparkling fragments rise from its path and are drawn into the figure’s eyes, where they twinkle.
“You should get up.”
A chime is ringing. The Dreamer groans, fighting the call to rise. Someone gives him a nudge. The bed, his wife in it, the awaiting day. It all floods back. The water empties. The figure is gone. The butterflies are flapping their wings in slow motion as they too vanish.
“You should get up,” his wife says. “We’ve got to get going in a couple hours.
He groans, “Yeah, okay.”